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Title: Builders of communism, 'defective' children, and social orphans : Soviet children in care after 1953
Author: Galley, Mirjam
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 0309
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates Soviet residential childcare in its political, ideological, and social context, as well as the impact of life in institutions on children in care. It depicts the Soviet effort to raise children from the margins of society close to socialist values. This effort needs to be considered in the context of Nikita Khrushchev's relaunching of the Soviet socialist project after the death of Stalin. Residential childcare institutions were part of the leadership's policies against deviance from the socialist norm. In the Soviet context, deviant meant being unwilling or unable to perform useful work for the state. These policies thus targeted children whose parents could not or did not take care of them, as well as children with disabilities, but affected children from socially marginal and poor families disproportionately. The increasing involvement of the sciences in social policy led to a shift from a criminalization to a pathologization of deviance. This thesis shows that the Soviet administration ran residential childcare institutions at a low priority. The authorities only intervened in individual cases in very specific circumstances, especially if the boundary between institution and outside world broke down. This conscious isolation of children in care brought about the formation of particular social structures in residential institutions. Children thus had to go through a process of adaptation to cope with life in care, and a similar process once they left the institutions. This was not only true for children from particularly 'bad' institutions, whose emotional scars from neglect or abuse made any kind of life difficult. It was also the case for children from homes and boarding schools which were working as the state had intended. More often than not, former children in care struggled to cope with life on their own, and with the realities of Soviet life.
Supervisor: Dobson, Miriam ; Tompkins, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available